Am I Eligible for SSI Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is tasked with overseeing and implementing several programs geared towards providing aid to disabled individuals across the U.S. One such program is Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI provides financial support to those individuals who are both disabled and in financial need. There are specific requirements that must be met for an individual to be eligible for SSI benefits.

Am I Eligible for SSI Benefits?

In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, a person must be age 65 or older, blind, or disabled. The definition of disability is different for children and adults. For those under the age of 18, the SSA considers you to be disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment that severely limits your ability to function and is either fatal or has lasted or will continually last for at least 12 months. For adults, the SSA considers you to be disabled if you have a medically determinable impairment that is either physical or mental, prevents you from engaging in substantially gainful activity, and is either fatal or has lasted or will continually last for at least 12 months.

In addition to the disability requirements discussed above, SSI also has an income requirement. To qualify for SSI, an individual must have limited income. This not only includes money earned from work, but also money received from other sources such as unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, and also any free food or shelter you may receive. While some income is excluded for SSI benefit calculations, those that are included will lead to either disqualification from the SSI program or a reduction in the amount of SSI benefits received.

The SSI beneficiary must also have limited resources in addition to limited income. Resources include assets such as land, vehicles, and personal property. Resources also include life insurance and financial accounts such as bank accounts, securities, and U.S. savings bonds. Essentially, anything that can be converted into cash to cover the cost of things like food or shelter are counted as resources.

While the disability, income and resource requirements of the SSI program are usually the most widely mentioned and discussed, there are a number of other requirements that must be met. For instance, the beneficiary must be a U.S. citizen or national and a resident of one of the 50 states, Washington D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands. A beneficiary must not be absent from the U.S. for an entire calendar month of 30 or more consecutive days. This lengthy list of requirements is still not exhaustive. There are several other requirements to consider prior to filing your application for SSI benefits.

Social Security Disability Attorney

The list of requirements for participation in the SSI benefits program is specific and lengthy. It can be, to say the least, complicated to determine whether or not you are eligible for the program. Talk to dedicated legal counsel at the Disability Advocates Group. We are here for you. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Posted in SSI